Advisory services, technical cooperation and the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/55


The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 926 (X) of 14 December 1955, in which the Assembly established the United Nations programme of advisory services in the field of human rights, and Economic and Social Council decision 1987/147 of 29 May 1987, pursuant to which the Secretary-General established the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights, as well as the latest resolution of the Commission on Human Rights on the subject, 1995/53 of 3 March 1995,

Recalling the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.157/23) in which the World Conference on Human Rights called for an enhanced programme of advisory services in the field of human rights, as well as for a more efficient and transparent management of the programme,

Mindful of the responsibilities of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights set out in General Assembly resolution 48/141 of 20 December 1993, in particular that of providing, through the Centre for Human Rights and other appropriate institutions, advisory services and technical cooperation at the request of the State concerned and, where appropriate, the regional human rights organizations, with a view to supporting actions and programmes in the field of human rights,

Welcoming the increasing number of requests for advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights as an expression of the growing commitment of States to promote and protect human rights,

Encouraging all States in need of assistance in the field of human rights to consider making use of the advisory services and technical cooperation being offered at the bilateral, regional or international level, provided by the Centre for Human Rights or other relevant bodies involved in the field of human rights within the United Nations system or by national institutions or non-governmental organizations, in order to achieve the full enjoyment of all human rights,

Emphasizing the particular importance of the development of assistance in the field of human rights, including through the assignment of human rights field officers, to countries in transition or reconstruction after situations of armed conflict or internal disturbance, with the consent of the Government concerned,

Reaffirming that the provision of advisory services and technical cooperation may be seen as a complement to, but not a substitute for, the monitoring and investigating activities of the human rights programme and that their provision does not reduce a Government's responsibility to account for the human rights situation and, whenever applicable, would not exempt it from monitoring through the various procedures established by the United Nations,

Convinced that advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights require close cooperation between United Nations bodies and specialized agencies active in this field so as to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their respective programmes and avoid unnecessary duplication,

Mindful that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in accordance with his mandate as established by the General Assembly in resolution 48/141, is responsible, inter alia, for the coordination of human rights promotion and protection activities throughout the United Nations system,

Convinced, therefore, of the need for the Centre for Human Rights to assume the functions of focal point and clearing house for inter-agency coordination on human rights issues with other organizations of the United Nations system,

Reaffirming that within the comprehensive programme of advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights, a clear distinction should be made between technical cooperation projects financed under the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights and activities under the regular budget of the United Nations, while at the same time close coordination between these activities should be ensured,

Welcoming the nomination of a coordinator for the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights,

Taking note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-General on advisory services in the field of human rights, including the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights (E/CN.4/1996/90), as well as of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (E/CN.4/1996/103) regarding the provision of technical assistance,

1. Reaffirms that the programme of advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights should continue to provide, at the request of Governments, assistance designed to strengthen national capacities for the promotion and protection of all human rights, achieve equality and strengthen the rule of law and democracy;

2. Welcomes the progress made in the management of the programme of advisory services and technical cooperation, notably the efforts made to introduce more efficient procedures and training of staff in the area of project identification, management and evaluation, as well as the progressive development of clear objectives, strategies and priorities for the effective management of the programme of advisory services and technical cooperation, and, in accordance with the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, encourages the Secretary-General to pursue these efforts further;

3. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish, in connection with activities under the programme of advisory services and technical cooperation, a roster of experts and to invite Member States to provide relevant information to that end;

4. Requests the High Commissioner to explore yet further the possibilities offered by cooperation between the Centre for Human Rights and specialized bodies and other organizations of the United Nations system, as well as non-governmental organizations, and arrangements where needs identified by the Centre are met by projects for which such bodies and organizations take full responsibility for financing and implementation;

5. Encourages in particular the cooperation between the Centre for Human Rights and the United Nations Development Programme, with a view to integrating, with the advice of the Commission on Human Rights, projects for strengthening human rights into the United Nations Development Programme activities and carrying out joint projects;

6. Invites competent United Nations treaty bodies, special rapporteurs and representatives, as well as working groups, to continue to include in their recommendations, whenever appropriate, proposals for specific projects to be realized under the programme of advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights;

7. Requests the Secretary-General, in the context of the budgetary planning for the biennium 1998-1999, to allocate to the Centre for Human Rights more human and financial resources for the enlargement of the programme of advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights, from within existing overall United Nations resources and in a manner compatible with other development objectives, in order to meet the substantially increased demand;

8. Expresses its appreciation to Governments and non-governmental organizations for their contributions to the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights, and invites more Governments and non-governmental organizations to consider contributing;

9. Emphasizes that the objective of the Voluntary Fund is to provide financial support for international cooperation aimed at building up and strengthening national and regional institutions and infrastructures which will have a long-term impact on improving the implementation of international conventions and other international standards on human rights;

10. Requests the Secretary-General, in accordance with Part II, paragraph 16, of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and in cooperation with the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund as advisory body, to ensure more efficient management of the Voluntary Fund, strict and transparent project management rules, periodical evaluations of the programme and projects, and the dissemination of evaluation results, including programme implementation and financial accounting reports, as well as to arrange for the holding of annual information meetings open to all Member States and organizations directly involved in the advisory services and technical cooperation programme;

11. Requests the Board of Trustees to exercise its full mandate as advisory body to promote and solicit contributions to the Voluntary Fund and to continue to assist the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/the Centre for Human Rights in monitoring, reviewing and improving constantly the process of selecting and implementing technical cooperation projects, the conduct of comprehensive needs assessments and the evaluation of ongoing and completed projects against the objectives that have been set and criteria of cost-effectiveness, and invites the Chairman of the Board to address the Commission;

12. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the necessary administrative assistance for the Board, to arrange meetings of the Board and to ensure that its conclusions are reflected in the annual report to the Commission on Human Rights on technical cooperation in the field of human rights;

13. Also requests the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Commission at its fifty-third session containing an inventory and an analysis of the availability of technical cooperation in the field of human rights from all sources, both multilateral and bilateral, and to request relevant information from such sources;

14. Further requests the Secretary-General to report annually to the Commission on Human Rights on the progress made in the implementation of the programme of advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights and on the operation and administration of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights.

53rd meeting 19 April 1996 [Adopted without a vote]


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